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In Anticipation of a 'Chandrayaan Moment' in Indian Education

Education can be succinctly viewed as a process of developing a suitable mindset and skillset that manifests the uniqueness of an individual, thereby defining the distinct mission they carry for the world. In this process, pedagogy plays a crucial role as an instrument for nurturing such a mindset and skillset.

Pedagogies have undergone transformations throughout history as the demands for mindset-skillset development have evolved. These changes can be readily linked to the societal and technological progress of humankind. For instance, in the pre-printing era, the faithful transmission of acquired knowledge held paramount importance, supported by a pedagogy that promoted rote learning. Here, the cognitive skill of "remembering" garnered greater attention. However, with the advancement of printing technology, the emphasis shifted to the skill of "understanding" or "interpreting" texts appropriately, leaving rote learning as an 'evolutionary vestige' of the pre-printing age. Pedagogies also evolved to cater to the new requirements for the intellectual formation of learners.

The emergence of computational and communication technologies marked another paradigm shift in the evolution of pedagogies. These technologies became powerful enough to assist or even replace human counterparts in cognitive skills such as "applying, analyzing, and evaluating," relegating humans to evolutionary vestiges of a prior socio-technological era. This doesn't imply that humans no longer need to "remember, understand, apply, analyze, or evaluate." Instead, they are supported in all these aspects by different technologies, leading to new demands on their intellectual development. Pedagogies naturally evolved in response to these shifts in educational requirements.

With the rise of AI technologies, the cognitive skill of "creating" is also being either bolstered or taken over by machines, prompting modern-day pedagogies to transcend the confines of the renowned "Revised Bloom's Taxonomy"! Indeed, the digital natives of today seek a novel form of intellectual development aligned with the new demands stemming from their socio-technological progress, ensuring their relevance in contemporary and future intellectual spheres. This inevitably foreshadows a radical paradigm shift in defining the pedagogy of digital natives.

On the other hand, socio-technological progress has significantly undermined social, environmental, and economic sustainability, compelling humans to formulate a fresh set of sustainable development goals (SDGs). Achieving these SDGs requires a shift in perspective or worldview, which, once again, falls under the umbrella of the necessary transformations in the pedagogy of digital natives.

However, education was not solely intended for the "intellectual development" of learners; rather, it acted as an agent of transforming mindsets. Across civilizations and generations, education aimed to shift a "fixed mindset" toward a "growth mindset," eventually evolving into an "entrepreneurial mindset." Education wasn't just about transmitting accumulated knowledge and wisdom from one generation to another; it also aimed to perpetuate their "entrepreneurial spirit." Hence, any pedagogy at any point in time must encompass an "entrepreneurial pedagogy."

It was Mahatma Gandhi who challenged the young nation with his concept of nai talim—an entrepreneurial pedagogy suitable for the early stages of the new Republic of India. However, Gandhiji could not achieve convincing success in the face of the complex socio-economic realities of India in his time.

As India aspires to become an entrepreneurial nation, an entrepreneurial pedagogy holds great relevance today. The success of Chandrayaan 3's mission, with its safe landing in the lunar South Pole, further fuels the entrepreneurial spirit of the nation.

It is hoped that the upcoming book from Pallikkutam Publications, titled "Pedagogy of the Digital Natives: Introduction to an Entrepreneurial Pedagogy" written by Prof. Dr. (Engg.) Varghese Panthalookaran will resonate effectively with the educators of the nation.

Notably, the book is expected to be published on October 2nd, 2023, coinciding with the 153rd Gandhi Jayanti. May this publication mark a 'Chandrayaan moment' in the educational history of India!

Photo Source: Image by studionone from Pixabay

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